Review Summary: One of these days I'm gonna leave you in your sleep.
4 of 4 thought this review was well written
Part of me feels like, if asked to sit down for a drink, Stephin Merritt and I would have quite a lot to talk about. We could wax poetic about the trials of a long lost love (“Long Vermont Roads”), the disposition of the modern American worker (“Born On A Train”), destruction of the minority culture (“Fear Of Trains”) -- all accompanied by twangy synths, shimmering guitars, and few squeaky strings thrown in for good measure. This would most likely work out fine, until we were both knee deep in our (current)glass and the fact that he’s probably insane would arise and I would promptly exit before we’re at each other’s throat. This divisive nature Stephin seems to enjoy projecting is something that’s always been a bit of a clincher to him though. His distinct, murky baritone, the driving backbone of the Fields, so much so that few are aware that this was the first album (fourth for the band) where he took control of all the vocal duties. Most just assume he always has. The light-hearted, psychedelic chamber-pop of the Fields first few records beguiles, almost going out of it's way to underplay The Highway Strip’s somber themes. Thankfully Merritt will not be suppressed, and the music just compliments his drunkard’s croon. It also doesn’t hurt that this record, which is obsessed with the American sprawl, happens to be one of the best at translating that feeling of desolate hope one can experience as the yellow lines begin to blur. But to equate this to a certain time and space is nearly pointless -- the US motorways serve as a plot point, but The Charm Of The Highway Strip is a road-trip record in the fullest sense. It transcends the locale and delivers seemingly simplistic pop songs as wide-eyed, cinematic ballads. Which in the end, one would suspect is exactly what Stephin Merritt and co. were trying to provide all along -- maybe he’s really not that crazy.
you have become like other guys
you have the sun i have the mooon.
also i could 5 this every other day, along with 69 love songs and distortion and i and holiday. so you totally should. im waiting for their discog to be covered, it must only be a couple of albums remaining by now.
oh yeah thx, of course, I mean its not like I haven't said that or anything okrobinsmith.
also Realism is very ehhh imo mike...I dunno, I'm told you appreciate it more as you listen to the rest of their records. But it was the first Fields LP I picked up too and well...I made fun of Robin for a while.
but to be fair I haven't listened to it since, so I may like it a lot more now.
i dont know. maybe realism isn't "the album you listen to after youve heard the rest", but it felt like merritt knew he'd made a classic. i feel that way with so many of the albums i love that others dont, as if theyve been completely misinterpretated. to me it sounded like he'd perfected his whole insane, ironic, dry + witty side and then changed up the music completely. and it was still a fields record, and it was awesome.